Medicinal Mushrooms Part 8: Other Mushrooms

There are so many medicinal mushrooms to consider it would be easy to go on and on. I am going to list some of the mushrooms I have found most beneficial over the last 10 years. Following is the information I have dug up on them; maybe in the future I will add more details to these mushrooms.

Maitake – Grifola frondosa

This edible mushroom has been extensively researched as an adaptogen and for its effect against cancer.1,2 The primary polysaccharide, beta-D-glucan, is well absorbed when taken orally and is currently under review for the prevention and treatment of cancer and as a supportive tool for HIV infection. It has been shown to stimulate the immune system. Animal studies suggest Maitake may lower fat levels in the blood and lower blood pressure.3-8 Maitake is shown to inhibit angiogenesis.9 The blood sugar lowering effect of Maitake is well researched, with a naturally occurring alpha glucosidase inhibitor found.10-13   Maitake’s antioxidant effect may be due to its partially inhibiting cyclooxygenase.14


Shiitake – Lentinus edodes

This edible mushroom has been used extensively as a folk remedy in the Orient. It has been shown to stimulate the immune system,15 and possesses anti-bacterial16,17,18  and anti-viral properties.19,20,21  Shiitake has been shown to reduce platelet aggregation22 and lower cholesterol.23 The mushroom and more importantly the mycelium extract lentinan has shown activity against many strains of cancer, especially gastric cancer.24-28    The list of studies done on shiitake is impressive; here are some of the highlights: dermatitis, liver cirrhosis, vascular sclerosis, lower blood pressure, reduce blood cholesterol, prevents toxicity from acid foods, inhibits growths of sarcoma 180 (97.5%) and Ehrlich carcinoma (80%), used successfully for chronic fatigue syndrome. LEM (Lentinus edodes mycelium) is often the form used.29

The antitumor function and much of the immunoregulatory action is due to the polysaccharides (a mannan-peptide complex, KS-2 and others). The lentinan complex has been shown to involve the adrenal-pituitary axis and central-peripheral nervous system (including serotonin, histamine and catecholamines) in its antitumour activity. Shiitake or LEM (Lentinus edodes mycelium extract) appears to be helpful during chemotherapy by reducing tumors and the side effects of chemotherapy. Lentinan has been shown to activate natural killer (NK) cells in vitro as well as T-helper cells, interleukin 2, interleukin 1, Igs production, interferon, macrophage secretion and the production of cytokines.

Shiitake’s antibacterial and antiparasitic effects seem to also be due to lentinan. LEM has been shown to have strong liver protective properties, slowing growth of liver tumours and speeding up recovery from hepatitis B. Eritadenine has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood lipids.30,31

Research indicates that lentinan injections may help some people with hepatitis.32 Other open human studies have looked at oral shiitake and found it useful for people with hepatitis B.33 A highly purified intravenous form of lentinan has been employed in Japan to increase survival in those with recurrent stomach cancer (particularly when used in combination with chemotherapy).34 These effects may be due to shiitake’s ability to stimulate specific types of white blood cells called T-lymphocytes.

Agaricus blazei (Agaricus subrufescens; Kawariharatake, Himematsutake, 姫松茸 )

This very popular mushroom is used extensively in the Orient, although it was initially discovered in South America. Agaricus is used to stimulate the immune system and against a large range of cancers.35  With over 500,000 people using this mushroom it is considered one of the more popular alternative remedies in the Orient.36 It has been shown to inhibit angiogenesis,37 as well as having a wide ranging effect against viruses and other pathogenic factors.38,39,40  There is ongoing research on its effect on lowering cholesterol41 and blood sugar levels.42,43


Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus; Yamabushitake, 山伏茸, 猴头菇): works mostly on the nervous system, it has been used to combat dementia and to stimulate nerve cellular growth,44,45  while stimulating myelination46 and improving cognitive ability.47


Enokitake (Flammulina velutipes; えのき茸, 팽이버섯): is an edible mushroom that, through epidemiological studies, has shown to have anti-tumor activity.48 One of the isolated compounds (proflamin) has been shown to produce an 85% longer survival rate in mice with cancer.49 Enokitake also has an antioxidant effect.50


  1. Deng G, Lin H, Seidman A, et al. (September 2009). “A phase I/II trial of a polysaccharide extract from Grifola frondosa (Maitake mushroom) in breast cancer patients: immunological effects”. Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology 135 (9): 1215–21.
  2. Kodama N, Komuta K, Nanba H (2003). “Effect of Maitake (Grifola frondosa) D-Fraction on the activation of NK cells in cancer patients”. Journal of Medicinal Food 6 (4): 371–7
  3. Nanba H, Hamaguchi AM, Kuroda H. The chemical structure of an antitumor polysaccharide in fruit bodies of Grifola frondosa (maitake). Chem Pharm Bull 1987;35:1162–8.
  4. Nanba H, Hamaguchi AM, Kuroda H. The chemical structure of an antitumor polysaccharide in fruit bodies of Grifola frondosa (maitake). Chem Pharm Bull 1987;35:1162–8.
  5. Kubo K, Nanba H. Anti-hyperliposis effect of maitake fruit body (Grifola frondosa). I. Biol Pharm Bull 1997;20:781–5
  6. Yamada Y, Nanba H, Kuroda H. Antitumor effect of orally administered extracts from fruit body of Grifola frondosa (maitake). Chemotherapy 1990;38:790–6.




  1. Adachi K, Nanba H, Otsuka M, Kuroda H. Blood pressure lowering activity present in the fruit body of Grifola frondosa (maitake). Chem Pharm Bull 1988;36:1000–6.
  2. Kodama N, Murata Y, Nanba H (2004). “Administration of a polysaccharide from Grifola frondosa stimulates immune function of normal mice”. Journal of Medicinal Food 7 (2): 141–5. doi:
  3. Lee JS, Park BC, Ko YJ (December 2008). “Grifola frondosa (maitake mushroom) water extract inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor-induced angiogenesis through inhibition of reactive oxygen species and extracellular signal-regulated kinase phosphorylation”. Journal of Medicinal Food 11 (4): 643–51.
  4. Matsuur H, Asakawa C, Kurimoto M, Mizutani J (July 2002). “Alpha-glucosidase inhibitor from the seeds of balsam pear (Momordica charantia) and the fruit bodies of Grifola frondosa”. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 66 (7): 1576–8.
  5. Hong L, Xun M, Wutong W (April 2007). “Anti-diabetic effect of an alpha-glucan from fruit body of maitake (Grifola frondosa) on KK-Ay mice”. The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 59 (4): 575–82.
  6. Lo HC, Hsu TH, Chen CY (2008). “Submerged culture mycelium and broth of Grifola frondosa improve glycemic responses in diabetic rats”. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 36 (2): 265–85.
  7. Manohar V, Talpur NA, Echard BW, Lieberman S, Preuss HG (January 2002). “Effects of a water-soluble extract of maitake mushroom on circulating glucose/insulin concentrations in KK mice”. Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism 4 (1): 43–8.
  8. Zhang Y, Mills GL, Nair MG (December 2002). “Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant compounds from the mycelia of the edible mushroom Grifola frondosa”. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 50 (26): 7581–5.
  9. Yamamoto Y, Shirono H, Kono K, Ohashi Y. (Nov 1997), “Immunopotentiating activity of the water-soluble lignin rich fraction prepared from LEM–the extract of the solid culture medium of Lentinus edodes mycelia.”, Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 61 (11): 1909–12, d
  10. Hirasawa M, Shouji N, Neta T, Fukushima K, Takada K (Feb 1999), “Three kinds of antibacterial substances from Lentinus edodes (Berk.) Sing. (Shiitake, an edible mushroom).”, Int J Antimicrob Agents 11 (2): 151–7,
  11. Tsujinaka T, Yokota M, Kambayashi J, Ou MC, Kido Y, Mori T (1990), “Modification of septic processes by beta-glucan administration”, Eur Surg Res 22 (6): 340–6
  12. Hatvani N (January 2001), “Antibacterial effect of the culture fluid of Lentinus edodes mycelium grown in submerged liquid culture.”, Int J Antimicrob Agents 17 (1): 71–4,
  13. Yamamoto Y, Shirono H, Kono K, Ohashi Y. (Nov 1997), “Immunopotentiating activity of the water-soluble lignin rich fraction prepared from LEM–the extract of the solid culture medium of Lentinus edodes mycelia.”, Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 61 (11): 1909–12,
  14. Gordon M, Bihari B, Goosby E, Gorter R, Greco M, Guralnik M, Mimura T, Rudinicki V, Wong R, Kaneko Y (1998), “A placebo-controlled trial of the immune modulator, lentinan, in HIV-positive patients: a phase I/II trial”, J Med 29 (5-6): 305–30,
  15. Sarkar S, Koga J, Whitley RJ, Chatterjee S (Apr 1993), “Antiviral effect of the extract of culture medium of Lentinus edodes mycelia on the replication of herpes simplex virus type 1”, Antiviral Res 20 (4): 293–303,
  16. Shimada S, Komamura K, Kumagai H, Sakurai H (2004), “Inhibitory activity of shiitake flavor against platelet aggregation”, Biofactors 22 (1-4): 177–9,
  17. Enman, J; Rova; Berglund (2007), “Quantification of the bioactive compound eritadenine in selected strains of shiitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes).”, Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 55 (4): 1177–80,
  18. ang P, Liang M, Zhang Y, Shen B. (Aug 2008), “Clinical application of a combination therapy of lentinan, multi-electrode RFA and TACE in HCC.”, Adv Ther. 25 (8): 787–94,
  19. Nimura H, Mitsumori N, Takahashi N, (Jun 2006), “[S-1 combined with lentinan in patients with unresectable or recurrent gastric cancer]”, Gan to Kagaku Ryoho. 33 (1): 106–9,
  20. Oba K, Kobayashi M, Matsui T, Kodera Y, Sakamoto J (July 2009), “Individual Patient Based Meta-analysis of Lentinan for Unresectable/Recurrent Gastric Cancer”, Anticancer Res. 29 (7): 2739–45,
  21. Hazama S, Watanabe S, Ohashi M, et al. (July 2009). “Efficacy of orally administered superfine dispersed lentinan ({beta}-1,3-glucan) for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer”. Anticancer Res 29 (7): 2611–7.
  22. Shimizu K, Watanabe S, Watanabe S, et al. (Jan 2009), “Efficacy of oral administered superfine dispersed lentinan for advanced pancreatic cancer”, Hepatogastroenterology 56 (89): 240–4,
  23. Jones, K., Ibid.
  24. Hobbs, C., Ibid.
  25. Jones, K., Ibid.
  26. Lin Y, et al. A double-blind treatment of 72 cases of chronic hepatitis with lentinan injection. News Drugs and Clin Remedies 1987;6:362–3 [in Chinese].
  27. Jones K. Shiitake: A major medicinal mushroom. Alt Compl Ther 1998;4:53–9
  28. Taguchi I. Clinical efficacy of lentinan on patients with stomach cancer: End point results of a four-year follow-up survey. Cancer Detect Prevent Suppl 1987;1:333–49.
  29. Hetland G, Johnson E, Lyberg T, Bernardshaw S, Tryggestad AM, Grinde B (October 2008). “Effects of the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill on immunity, infection and cancer”. Scandinavian Journal of Immunology 68 (4): 363–70.
  30. Hyodo I, Amano N, Eguchi K (April 2005). “Nationwide survey on complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients in Japan”. Journal of Clinical Oncology 23 (12): 2645–54.
  31. Niu YC, Liu JC, Zhao XM, Wu XX (January 2009). “A low molecular weight polysaccharide isolated from Agaricus blazei suppresses tumor growth and angiogenesis in vivo”. Oncol. Rep. 21 (1): 145–52
  32. Chen L, Shao HJ, Su YB (March 2004). “Coimmunization of Agaricus blazei Murill extract with hepatitis B virus core protein through DNA vaccine enhances cellular and humoral immune responses”. International Immunopharmacology 4 (3): 403–9.
  33. Chen L, Shao H (January 2006). “Extract from Agaricus blazei Murill can enhance immune responses elicited by DNA vaccine against foot-and-mouth disease”. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 109 (1-2): 177–82.
  34. ryggestad AMA, Espevik T, Forland DT, Ryan L, Hetland G (2007). “The medical mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill activates NF-κB via TLR2”. 13th International Congress of Immunology (Rio de Janeiro: Medimond): 2–23.
  35. Liu, Y; Fukuwatari; Okumura; Takeda; Ishibashi; Furukawa; Ohno; Mori et al. (2008). “Immunomodulating Activity of Agaricus brasiliensis KA21 in Mice and in Human Volunteers.”. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM 5 (2): 205–219.
  36. Kim, YW; Kim; Choi; Lee (2005). “Anti-diabetic activity of beta-glucans and their enzymatically hydrolyzed oligosaccharides from Agaricus blazei.”. Biotechnology letters 27 (7): 483–7
  37. Hsu, CH; Liao; Lin; Hwang; Chou (2007). “The mushroom Agaricus Blazei Murill in combination with metformin and gliclazide improves insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled clinical trial.”. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) 13 (1): 97–102
  38. Park YS, Lee HS, Won MH, Lee JH, Lee SY, Lee HY (September 2002). “Effect of an exo-polysaccharide from the culture broth of Hericium erinaceus on enhancement of growth and differentiation of rat adrenal nerve cells”. Cytotechnology 39 (3): 155–62.
  39. Mori K, Obara Y, Hirota M (September 2008). “Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells”. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 31 (9): 1727–32.
  40. Kolotushkina EV, Moldavan MG, Voronin KY, Skibo GG (2003). “The influence of Hericium erinaceus extract on myelination process in vitro”. Fiziolohichnyĭ Zhurnal 49 (1): 38–45.
  41. Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T (March 2009). “Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial”. Phytotherapy Research 23 (3): 367–72.
  42. Monro JA (August 2003). “Treatment of cancer with mushroom products”. Archives of Environmental Health 58 (8): 533–7
  43. Ikekawa T, Maruyama H, Miyano T (February 1985). “Proflamin, a new antitumor agent: preparation, physicochemical properties and antitumor activity”. Japanese Journal of Cancer Research 76 (2): 142–8.
  44. Bao HN, Ushio H, Ohshima T (March 2009). “Antioxidative activities of mushroom (Flammulina velutipes) extract added to bigeye tuna meat: dose-dependent efficacy and comparison with other biological antioxidants”. Journal of Food Science 74 (2): C162–9.

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